Strong pleads guilty
By Ashley Crutcher
Batesville Circuit Court Judge Jimmy McClure accepted guilty pleas from Cordarius Strong, 17, of 107 Cedarcrest, Batesville, and Craig Harris, 121 Fogg Rd., Batesville.
Strong pleaded guilty to the charge of second degree murder.
The charge was reduced from capital murder to the second degree murder charge. Strong is charged, along with Nakia Lamar of 646 Sanders Rd., Sardis, in the shooting death of Roary Ledell Thomas on 102 Bradford St. March 2, 2017.
Thomas died in a parked car from gun shot wounds from a hand gun, according to police reports. Strong and Lamar attempted to steal “dope” from Thomas and when Thomas refused to hand it over, Strong fired fatally shooting Thomas. Strong will remain in custody until his sentencing hearing on May 8.
Four family members of Strong were charged with accessory after the fact of capital murder to which each pleaded guilty. According to the prosecution, Brenda Hughes drove Strong to Hernando Walmart on the day of the murder where his sister Tanishia Ronchell Strong drove Cordarius to Lashaundra Maria Clark’s home in Memphis.
Strong was arrested after investigators found evidence his mother, Denise Strong, sent money via money orders to Memphis for him to live on.
Each now faces a $1,000 fine, will be on probation for five years and must pay $500 in court fees. The four defendants received a suspended sentence of 19 years with five year to report to a probation officer.
Harris pleaded guilty to second degree murder charges in the June 29, 2017, shooting death of Ebony Garcia on Fogg Rd. Investigator Edward Dickson responded to the scene were Garcia was found deceased.
According to the prosecution, Garcia had been in a dating relationship with Harris and was currently in a new relationship.
Harris arrived at the residence wanting to talk with Garcia about her new boyfriend and when Garcia refused to talk about it, Harris, said an expletive and fatally shot Garcia, according to the prosecution.
Harris will remain in custody of the Panola County Sheriff’s Department until his sentencing hearing on March 22.